•DO keep your cool. Kids are very good at sensing your feelings. The more frustrated you feel, the more frustrated your child will become. Take control of the situation, and your child will feel more safe and secure.

•DO be empathic. Try and have some understanding of the difficulty of not being able to do or have something. Everyone has had such moments.

•Do NOT punish. Never physically hit or spank your child, as this only shows a lack of control on your part and gives the message to a child that their feelings are to be “beaten away.” A child should be encouraged to express their feelings in a productive and verbal manner.

•DO reflect feelings. “You are very mad right now.” Be an emotional mirror through your own expression of how the child is feeling. This will help them to learn how to put their own feelings into words, and will make them feel understood.

•Do NOT reward. Never give in to the demands of a child who has just gone through a tantrum. Model for them limits and control by not caving in. Instead, encourage talking about the tantrum once the child has calmed down. Discover together what the tantrum was really all about.

•DO make sure the child and others are safe during a tantrum. If it seems as if the child is in danger of hurting themselves or others, take the child to a calm, quiet and safe space to contain the child’s aggression.

•Do NOT pay attention to a child that seems to be having a tantrum to get attention. If you decide that ignoring the childs’ tantrum feels right, never abandon the child. Stay in the same room with the child, and go about your activity without acknowledging the tantrum.

•DO provide hugs and warm embraces for a child that has gone through a temper tantrum. Children should not be made to feel ashamed for having feelings. They look to you to help them learn how to express their feelings in a safe and contained manner.

•DO be aware of “tantrum triggers”—those situations or locations that seem to cause your children to tantrum. Avoid these trigger situations particularly if your child is tired or hungry!


•DO require a “time-out” as a time to cool down in a private space.

•Do NOT set a time limit for a “time-out”. Allow older children to feel as if they have some control, as this will help them to regain composure. Say, “Tell me when you are cooled down and under control, then we can talk about it”.

•DO allow the child simple choices. A child who is feeling overwhelmed with decisions will benefit from feeling a small amount of control. Rather than asking, “When do you want to clean your room?”, ask , “Do you want to clean your room now or after dinner?”

•DO remember that as a child develops language skills and other ways of expressing feelings, tantrums and acting-out behavior will decrease.

Author's Bio: 

Matt Casper, M.A. MFT; Matt is a licensed Psychotherapist with a private practice in Los Angeles, California. He graduated cum laude from Duke University where he studied personality psychology, comparative religion and film. He received his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the California Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology and Psychoanalysis and has worked with a diverse population including individual adults, teens and children as well as with groups and couples. Matt has been involved with the Maple Counseling Center, a non-profit counseling clinic, as well as with the Julia-Ann Singer Therapeutic School where he worked with children who fall somewhere on the Autism spectrum, and has served as a supervisor for teenagers at TEEN LINE, a hotline and website that provides teen-to-teen outreach for teenagers facing emotional challenges. Matt is also the author of a series of 12 books in the "Emotes!" series which aims to help children identify, express and manage their emotions.